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360 million tons of material consumed annually

Each person in Switzerland consumes around 47 tons of material and discharges eight tons of waste into the environment each year, says the Federal Statistics Office.

Figures on Tuesday revealed that the Swiss use a total of 360 million tons of matter, an amount that would fill roughly three train carriages for every person in the country. Around 90 million tons of emissions were released into the air.

About a third of materials were directly consumed. Of that amount, just over half were mineral-based, 23 per cent biomass, 17 per cent derived from fossil fuels, six per cent metals and four per cent composites.

The remaining two-thirds of indirectly used materials were mainly used in the production and transport of goods.

Some 64 million tons of resources were used in buildings, infrastructure and sustainable products.

The production of goods imported into Switzerland also represented some 195 tons of "hidden" material. This could include the raw materials used to make metals, for example.

Authorities say that while emissions have decreased four per cent since 1990, they have been slowly climbing since 2000.

This is the first time the Statistics Office has published a balance sheet of material flows.